Healthy swaps – beat the January blues!

Happy new year!

It’s officially that time of year when everyone rejoins the gym, starts a detox or goes on a diet to lose those extra pounds gained from too many mince pies or this just me???

This year however, I’ve tried to make some healthy food swaps that are easy to stick to rather than making resolutions to give up the foods I love completely. By sticking to these swaps I can still eat the food I enjoy but not limit myself in what I can cook. I’ve also decided that the odd glass of wine or take away is not a bad thing. Everything in moderation!

These are my 5 food swaps for January…


These can be added to many of your existing recipes or used instead of meat to help you get extra protein but cut down on the fat content. Try adding pinto beans to a Mexican chicken stew or black beans to your fajitas instead of meat.


Just like beans these are so nutritious and if cooked correctly are so tasty! Most pulses come in tins now so there is no need for soaking. Use puy lentils instead of mince in a shepherds pie or green lentils in a warm salad.


By January most people shudder at the word but this is a meat that should be enjoyed all your round! The meat is very low in fat and can be used instead of most meats to create a turkey curry or even using turkey mince to make your spaghetti bolognese.

Fat-free Yoghurt

A lot of recipes call for cream to be added which can double the calories in your meals! Swap the double cream in your pasta dishes for fat free yoghurt or try using in dips to get that creamy flavour but in a much healthier way.


Try swapping your traditional accompaniments such as rice and pasta to something a little more light and healthy like quinoa, cous cous or bulgar wheat You can add your own flavours and it is so easy to prepare. Also makes a fantastic salad addition for lunch boxes.

Hopefully by making some slight changes along with trying to get a couple of hours of exercise in each weekI will lose a few pounds without getting the January blues!

Mince pie pin wheels and a festive film!

Had a rare day off today to do some final Christmas shopping, mainly the big food shop!

The weather was awful, I would much rather it be cold than throwing it down with rain.
My new favourite drink in the whole world to get warm is Chai Latte! I usually spend far too much in Starbucks on these. So glad I discovered this instant powder so I can enjoy them at home snuggled up on the sofa.

Personally, I don’t think there is much better than snuggling up on the sofa with a Christmas movie, a cup of tea and mince pie. Throw in a cute kitty and I’m in heaven!


When I have time I love to get baking. I much prefer homemade mince pies to shop bought because you get that fresh baked smell wafting wafting through the house. If you want to make some classy looking pin wheels in a hurry. All you need to do is cut puff pastry sheets into 10cm squares cutting slits from the centre into each corner. Place a tablespoon of mincemeat into the centre. I used a lovely cranberry and port one. Fold alternate corners into the centre and top with a star. After 20-25 mins in the oven you can sit on the sofa and watch your favourite festive film!

This was my movie of choice!

My top 5 Christmas movies.

1 – Elf
2 – Muppet’s Christmas Carol
3 – Love Actually
4 – Home Alone
5 – The Holiday




What is your favourite Christmas movie?

Christmas Cake Pops!

In the words of Noddy Holder, it’s Christmas!

Love this time of year so much! I spent Sunday making the house look festive and indulging in a little bit of Christmas baking!

After a batch of mince pies I decided to use up some of the boyfriend’s birthday cake leftovers and turn it into some cake pops!

If you haven’t made cake pops before I strongly recommend you watch the queen of cake pops tutorial as I really could not explain it any better – Bakerella

I started out with my left over chocolate fudge cake then added chocolate Philadelphia until I got a mouldable consistency. I use the processor to whizz the cake into crumbs but add the Philly by hand as I find it is easy to add too much making a very wet cake pop. I find the Philly is less sweet than buttercream, but either works ok. Cake pops are a great way of using leftover buttercream or cakes which haven’t quite worked out the way you planned!


Once you have your mixture, roll it into balls and put it in the freezer for 15 mins to firm up. I cannot stress enough DO THIS! It will not work otherwise! Once you have removed them from the freezer dip the sticks into chocolate or candy melts then insert into the balls, then freeze again for 5-10mins whilst melting your coating.

For mine I used chocolate flavoured coating by Silverspoon as I personally find Candy Melts too sickly. I would recommend having a box with some hole in or some polystyrene to put your cake pops in to dry. You can buy stands but it really depends how often you think you will use it. A box does the job!

I like indulging in a bit of sugarcraft, it is very therapeutic! You can get so many cutters now and every colour of icing under the sun!


As you can see I added some white icing to look like cream and some holly to turn mine into Christmas pudding cake pops! I got the plungers from eBay. The icing is Renshaws, it rolls out really well!




Remember, remember…

It’s Bonfire night!

One of my favourite nights of the year! I love getting wrapped up warm and standing by the fire.

This year I went to my parent’s house for some food and fireworks.

We enjoyed a fantastic BBQ and mushy peas. I’ve been told mushy peas with mint sauce is a Nottingham tradition?


It was great toasting marshmallows on the fire and making s’mores! The mallow goes gooey and melts the choccy on the digestives. Delicious!

One of my favourite bonfire traditions is Yorkshire Parkin! The cake is sweet, sticky and tasty!

I used recipe. I love the smell of the spices and syrups when I’m making this!



Whatever you’re doing this bonfire night, stay safe and have lots of fun!


Autumn Spiced Sables

Autumn is here!

On a blustery Sunday afternoon there is nothing better than some easy baking!

I was craving some biscuits to go with an extra large cup of tea so decided to try out my new autumn leaf-shaped cutters. These were a bargain at £2.89 on eBay!

I wanted a simple recipe so adapted a BBC recipe and just added a tablespoon of mixed spice to give it a bit more flavour. The dough was quite easy to work with, I did put it in the freezer for 5 mins halfway through to firm up as my kitchen was quite warm.

I ended up with what felt like hundred of these little biscuits because the cutters were quite small. The biscuits were really tasty and melted in the mouth. They were really light, I easily ate my way through 5 or 6 of the little biscuits.

My other half and his two brothers ate the rest whilst playing on the Xbox, they also gave them the thumbs up!

I’m now eyeing up some Halloween and Christmas cutters so watch this space for some more biscuit experimenting!

Cake Clubs

Whilst 8,000 people were busy running in the Robin Hood half marathon on Sunday around 30 others were raising money in an entirely different fashion…EATING CAKE!

Cake Eaters Anonymous, held once a month, met at a new venue overlooking Nottingham Castle, in the lovely Fothergills! Over £200 was raised for Nottingham Neonatal Charity which supports the NHS in buying the latest equipment to give premature babies a fighting chance of life.

There were some particularly delicious cakes this month so it was very difficult to choose my 3 slices! The diet started Monday…

Here’s what I made.

Courgette Spiced Mini Bundts

I adapted the recipe a little using Stork baking liquid (which I used for the first time and can highly recommend!) instead of vegetable shortening and natural yoghurt instead of half-and-half.

Check out the recipe.

I also made mine in some little silicone Bundts which I bought from Lakeland for only £2.99!



These were delicious, the walnut toffee-like topping with the spicy, moist cake had a real Autumnal flavour.

Here’s a few photos of the other gorgeous cakes…

Let me know what you think, do you attend a cake club? Ever thought about setting one up in your area?







<a href="http:/


Cooking for your cat…

As the title of my blog suggests cats and cooking are my favourite hobbies.

It’s not often that two such contrasting hobbies could over-lap, but hurrah it appears that I can at last combine the two!

A few weeks back I purchased ‘Cooking for your cat‘ from Amazon and I am still yet to cook anything out of it if I’m perfectly honest.

I was curious to see if anyone else has tried any of the recipes from this book or whether anyone has a super-fussy cat who would only eat home cooked delicacies.

Maybe you don’t like the commercial pet foods and want to make your own more healthy options for your cat. I’m interested to find out….

The book boasts “Healthy Recipes – seasoned with affection” and have a vast array of interesting treats inside.

There are some winter warmers such as Lamb Hotpot with Carrot and some more indulgent meals like Salmon Trout Mousse.

By chance when reading through one of my favourite blogs from Joy the Baker I also noticed this kitty-themed recipe which I might begin with before embarking on anything more adventurous.

I think I would cook something up as an occasional treat as my Eric is spoilt enough!

What do you think? Would you ever cook up a Frittata for your feline friend?

National Cupcake Week!

Happy National Cupcake Week everyone!

National Cupcake Week

Over recent months there have been vicious rumours that cupcakes are going out of fashion…never I say!

Why else would we dedicate a whole week to these delicious, pretty little cakes!

There are too many cupcakes around for me to list in this blog but below are my top 5 recipe ideas for you to try this cupcake week!

Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake and what’s wrong with plain old vanilla?

As the recipe suggests, this is a tried and tested favourite!  A perfect cupcake for you to add your own toppings to!

Mojitio Cupcakeshold onto to that summer feeling!

Relive those summer cocktails in Canaries with these boozy cupcakes. I’ve made these before for friends and they are a firm favourite!

Pumpkin Cupcakesautumn is well and truly here, embrace it with the seasonal lovelies!

I haven’t made these yummy cupcakes yet but I’m very excited to try them! (You can get canned pumpkin from larger Waitrose stores).

Fast Food Cupcakesnot for the beginner baker but these look like great fun!

There is never anything boring about a blog post from Bakerella and this one doesn’t disappoint. Cupcakes are so versatile, you can have great fun trying out new ideas!

Hummingbird Chocolate Cupcakesfrom the famous London Hummingbird Bakery which makes gorgeous American-style cakes. Seriously delicious!

For the chocoholics amongst you this is the perfect indulgent treat!

I hope this post hasn’t made you too hungry and has inspired you to dust off your mixers and get baking some fabulous cupcakes!

I will be adding a sugarcraft blog post this weekend when I will be spending the afternoon in my kitchen trying out some new and old cupcake topper ideas!

To find out more about National Cupcake Week check out their website

I love brownies!

I have been asked a lot recently what my favourite thing to bake (and more importantly eat) is. It’s a question I have pondered over for some time now. I think it is very difficult to beat a good cupcake. Baking a cupcake then adding the buttercream in a perfect swirl and topping with sprinkled or a nice sugar craft butterfly is pure heaven, however recently I have had a change of heart….

The humble brownie. I’ve baked many recipes trying to find the perfect one and I have finally found Lorraine Pascale’s recipe to be my firm favourite

The secret is the large quantities of egg. Always be wary of recipes with lots of flour and cocoa as a good brownie should mainly be chocolate. They must be moist and squishy not cakey!

Lorraine adds Oreos to hers which are divine. My favourite additions include marshmallows, dried blueberries, Rolos, salted caramel and peanut butter! Mmmm delicious!


What’s your favourite recipe?

What is your cat doing right now?

I’ve had Eric for 2 years now and still he finds a way to make me laugh everyday. When I’ve had a bad day at work or I’m feeling rough he some how knows! If your a fellow cat owner you will know what I mean. They never fail to put a smile on your face!

Most mornings I wake up this view. He likes to stand on my chest and miaow very loudly until I get up and feed him. If I don’t he will proceed to try and smother me.

I always wanted an affectionate lap-cat and was lucky that Eric loves cuddles and attention. He adores snuggling up with me when I’m watching a movie and always shares the bed with us.

He is a very vocal cat, everyone knows when he has arrived! When I’m giving him a chin rub he purrs so loudly you can hear it in another room!

Everyone tells me I spoil him and there probably right! How do you spoil your kitty?

What is your cat doing right now?

Lisa x